Telltale signs

2019-03-07 11:11:01

By Fred Pearce WARNING signs heralding last week’s Greek earthquake were plain to see, say geologists. Earlier statements had claimed there was no visible evidence of the fault line before it ruptured. The quake had a magnitude of 5.9 and killed around a hundred people. Though much weaker than the quake that struck Turkey in August, it was still the most powerful to hit Athens for eighty years. The international earthquake monitoring centre run by the British Geological Survey in Edinburgh reported: “There was no surface feature for a fault in this area.” But Tim Wright of the University of Oxford told New Scientist: “I don’t know why they didn’t know this was a fault. It is clear enough on satellite images. The only problem should have been knowing whether it was active or not.” Mary Goldsworthy of the University of Cambridge, who is compiling a fault map of Greece for her doctoral thesis, agrees: “This fault was on my maps, though I haven’t published them yet.” Last week Wright posted an image compiled from satellite data of the area on the Net. “The fault is clearly visible,” he says. “It has all the features associated with an active fault: a straight-edged and steep mountain front,